Stasia Rice

Stasia Rice

Stasia is an organizational development consultant and leadership coach committed to developing leaders and helping to improve the programs that impact the employees in their organizations. Stasia partners with you to define your goals, assess the barriers, and clear the path to effective change.

Stasia has spent most of her career serving clients in the DHS and DOD branches of the federal government through top management consulting firms like Deloitte and IBM. Today she helps leaders and organizations through coaching leaders, development of strategic plans and communications, or refining business processes. Stasia enjoys being able to use her creativity and problem solving skills to exceed expectations with her clients... read more

A great employee is a like a great pair of shoes... Invest in Quality!

Written by Stasia Rice Posted in Blog, All Posts

Have you ever bought a pair of cheap shoes in a pinch?  Maybe you needed a quick replacement, or felt the budget didn’t bear anything more expensive?  More often than not, when you compromise on quality, the shoes don’t fit quite right, they to show wear quickly or maybe even fell apart well before you'd like.  In the end… you have to buy another pair.  Making this mistake often will add up quickly.  Consider how many $20 pairs of shoes you have replaced.  They probably add up to what it would have cost for a quality pair of shoes that you would love, feel confident and comfortable in and are made to last. We can draw a parallel from this metaphor to hiring and retaining employees… We should all learn from lessons in buying good shoes:

  1.  No matter what the price, find the right fit.  A bad hire will just end up giving you “blisters”… not to mention the time, money and effort of having to rehire and train the next person. Avoid quick replacements and be sure they fit your culture and the position qualifications!
  2. Be willing to invest.  This might come in the form of someone with more experience, or even better, someone with the potential to learn and grow with training, development and time.  Like your shoes, a larger upfront cost pays off in spades when your employee sticks with you and lives into the potential you saw.
  3. Repair – Don’t Replace.  If an employee that fits well and has all the potential to do great things just isn’t as shiny anymore, or worse, the sole has worn and they are not performing as well anymore, don’t just toss them out!  Now is the time to invest in them through coaching or more formal development. Your initial investment in quality must be maintained! Polish up those shoes and resole them again and again!  The cost of ongoing investment is far less than buying new!
  4. Don’t take your dress shoes hiking.  You wouldn’t try to make your shoes perform in an environment or for a task not suited to their purpose.  Why do we do this to our employees?  Get to know them and their strengths to ensure that they can perform at their best.
  5. Try them with a new outfit.  Sometime the effect of putting the same shoe with a completely different outfit can help you get even more wear out of them!Think about the last time you put those dress shoes with jeans-it can makes for a fun change and you got more wear out of those shoes! The same goes for your high potential employees.  Giving them new opportunities, experiences outside of their area of expertise, or promotions when they are ready for more leadership and responsibility can help them to find longevity and happiness in your organization!

The lesson that you eventually learn is that the return on investment when it comes to quality is almost always worth it… in shoes and in people! MSBCoach is in the business of investing in quality people.  Let us help you polish up or resole your teams through coaching or our training programs.  We also have many effective assessments that can help uncover their strengths and preferences so you can help them succeed!

6 Strategies to Avoid Estimation Errors on Your Next Project

Written by Stasia Rice Posted in Blog, All Posts

Why Do My Projects Take Longer Than I Think They should?

There are those of us that are really good at estimating how long a particular project will take, or how much effort can be reasonably expended in a period of time. And then there’s the rest of us.

Whether it is through sheer hope or lack of experience, we often underestimate the amount of time and energy it ALWAYS takes to complete a project and overestimate the number of things we can add to our plates.

While this can be painful at best if the project only affects you, when it affects your team, or the organization as a whole, estimation of time and effort really become critical to the success of the project, team morale and completion of strategic objectives.

Here are six strategies to consider for those of you that may share frustrations in estimating:

  1. How clearly defined is the scope of the project? Do you know EXACTLY WHAT needs to be accomplished, and EXACTLY HOW it will be accomplished? If not, allow time for investigation, planning and re-planning- especially if this is uncharted territory.
  2. Ask your experts. Typically – those actually doing the work are better suited to advise you on the time and effort you’ll need to complete the task – or even just define the scope of the task. Be advised and then, as the leader – be sure to take into consideration if this person has been a good judge in the past, what other tasks may also be coming up, give room for other variables and then adjust the schedule and your expectations accordingly.
  3. Be mindful that many people on your team may want to naturally try to accommodate your wishes. Be sure to ask probing questions about their portion of the project, what is required and what other expectations are on them. This will save you down the road when they are floundering because they have agreed to do too much. Also be sure to check in with them frequently to encourage open communication so that you can adjust the schedule and expectations as necessary.
  4. Be mindful of your own desire to accommodate an unrealistic schedule. It’s no secret that leaders are under pressure to perform and to get the project done quickly and under budget. As you collect scheduling information from your team – ideally your experts – be sure to examine your motives if you think that the project could or should be done faster or cheaper. Holding strong to a realistic goal allows you to under-promise and (potentially) over-deliver – a much better position than over-promising and under-delivering!
  5. Expect that nothing will go as planned. Help your team to realize that when they are estimating, they should plan for technical glitches, changes in scope or priority. These are all natural occurrences in a project of any sized organization. Change is a constant – but if you’re expecting it, you can help your team to adjust that much more quickly.
  6. When in doubt – give the schedule a little cushion. Your percentage of increase will vary depending on your experience and that of your team, but as long as the goals of the project can withstand it, add a little more time on top just in case. You’ll be surprised how often you need it!

Once you are relatively certain of a good estimation, a project leader needs to be a champion, cheerleader and barrier remover once the work is underway. Delivering a project on time and on target is a very gratifying feeling – and working toward that is important for your team and the organization as a whole. However, if the path and the itinerary are not clear from the get go- or the expected arrival date is unreasonable or just plain wrong– no one will enjoy the trip! Frustrations will mount both on your part and that of your team and targets will be missed. Developing your skill in estimating a project scope and schedule to enable your team’s success will result in far more satisfaction on everyone’s part! 

Coping While in Limbo

Written by Stasia Rice Posted in Blog, All Posts

How to Manage Yourself During Life Transitions

Life is filled with change.  Most of us will experience quite a few significant life altering changes in our lives and careers.   Perhaps it’s a promotion, a new career path, a move to another city or the birth of a child.  Transition is part of life.

These CAN be very exciting and welcome changes, however I’ve noticed that they all come with that “waiting period”.  I dread this “limbo” because more often than not, I’m not fully in control of the situation but I can’t move forward till circumstances or decisions outside of my control are to be made.   I feel the most anxiety and frustration in my life during these unavoidable limbo periods.

  • Waiting for that position to open up so I can apply.
  • Waiting for our employer to determine where we will be stationed next.
  • Waiting for the opportunities of my next career to begin to come to fruition.

I have to imagine I’m not the only one that finds it difficult to be patient.  However, I’ve learned that the more I fuss, or worry, or try to push the decisions and circumstances, the worse I feel.  And strangely enough it seems like that limbo period is longer and more painful that if I had just let things unfold.

But let’s face it… I’m probably a little too ‘type A’ to just sit back and wait, so I’ll share with you some of the ACTIONS I have taken that do actually help to manage the stress of limbo and maybe make it just that much more tolerable.

Prepare – Do what you can to be ready for that change.  Study and get that next degree or certification.  Build your network and be open to the opportunities as they present themselves.  Use this time wisely, because just waiting for the apples to appear won’t help when you haven’t planted the seeds.

Contingency Plan – In circumstances where there are factors or decision out of my control – I have found that if I plan for the 2-3 circumstances that COULD happen I felt more content to just wait and see which scenario comes to fruition.   Knowing your bases are covered not only gives you ease that you can handle what ever comes your way, but it helps to keep your mind occupied while you wait!

Focus Inward – As I have moved from one career or one stage of life to the next, and found myself in the  ‘development stage’ of that next step, one critical and rewarding ACTION I could take was to be more self-aware.  Ask yourself:  What did I learn from this previous career or stage in life?  What did I love?  What did I hate?  What would I do more of? What will I change in the next stage?  Take stock and set yourself up for a more informed and mindful next step.

Self-Care – Take time during this transition to take care of yourself.  When we are stressed, we feel the effects physically in our bodies and minds. Keep up with, or start, a regular self-care routine that included a healthy diet, regular exercise and plenty of water.  It’s often the first thing that we forget but is so critical to ability to cope with that stress!

Spend Time with your Passions – Do more of the things that make you happy.  What are the things that make you light up? Deliberately spend more time doing these things when in limbo.  Your spirit will be fed and you will have less time to worry.  Explore those things you never had time to or wish you had.  You might even find a way to incorporate them more regularly into your next big stage in life.

Limbo can feel terrible because it’s a time of inaction and waiting for the next big thing… these ACTIONS, while not changing the situation, make good use of that time by lessening stress and focusing on what you CAN do!

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